Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Autogynephilia

Theoretical statements involving autogynephilia are a rather different matter. I have, at one time or another, advanced several of these, for example:

1. All gender-dysphoric biological males who are not homosexual (erotically aroused by other males) are instead autogynephilic (erotically aroused by the thought or image of themselves as females).

2. Autogynephilia does not occur in women, that is, biological females are not sexually aroused by the simple thought of possessing breasts or vulvas.

3. The desire of some autogynephilic males for sex reassignment surgery represents a form of bonding to the love-object and is analogous to the desire of heterosexual men to marry wives and the desire of homosexual men to establish permanent relationships with male partners.

4. Autogynephilia is a misdirected type of heterosexual impulse, which arises in association with normal heterosexuality but also competes with it.

5. Autogynephilia is simply one example of a larger class of sexual variations that result from developmental errors of erotic target localization.
Ray Blanchard, Origins of the Concept of Autogynephilia

In other publications, Blanchard has described it as a "paraphilia" - thus in the same class as paedophilia, necrophilia and other paraphilias.

I wrote an accurate though rather scathing description of Autogynephilia in a previous post:
Now the main competing theory is AGP (AutoGynePhilia) theory, a theory based in the Freudian concept that every single human motivation is sexual in nature. In AGP theory, the early transitioners are really gay boys who want to have sex with straight men. The late transitioners have a paraphilia, a fetish, that makes them want to have female bodies based on misdirected male sexual urges (Autogynephilia). This last is associated with talents for the military, computer science, or the creative arts for reasons unknown, and the neurological evidence is swept under the carpet as an irrelevant, unexplained phenomenon based on dubious evidence. As for FtoMs, they're all inexplicable and may not even exist. Any testimony by any TS women which contradicts this is a lie, and they must all be pathological liars as so many of them contradict it.

All men are heterosexual, gay, or liars too, bisexuality doesn't exist in men, those who say they're bisexual are gay. Except in transsexuals, where those claiming to be bisexual have to actually be non-gay to make it all work. And women are all bisexual. The evidence that many late transitioning women end up being androphillic is ignored as an unexplained phenomenon, or maybe they're just lying.
This is what AGP theory genuinely means in practice.

It is a basic building block of the theory that any expression of a transsexual woman's desire to have a female body for anything other than being able to attract men for sex is seen as a misdirected male sexual urge. Because if you gave cis-sexual women the questionnaire to detect autogynephilia in transsexual women, their answers would be completely different.

For some reason... this was not done. It was left till later. As Blanchard said:
All or none of the foregoing propositions may be true, false, or something in between. Their accuracy is an empirical question that can be resolved only by further research.
So those Transsexual women who had never felt the slightest trace of sexual excitement from the thought of having a male body, and indeed whose sexual thoughts relied on them having a female one, were regarded as paraphiliacs. This did not please them. Rather, they thought that if they had been sexually aroused at the thought of having a male body, they wouldn't be women. So it was a no-win situation for them, either way, they were regarded as male, regardless of their feelings. Many expressed their displeasure (actually "outrage" would be closer) in rather forceful, even pungent terms - being arrogantly informed that you're a sexually deviant male will cause that in any woman. Many just drew attention to the various inconsistencies of the theory. Ones you could drive a truck, several goods trains, and a complete Panzer division through, in line abreast. And quite a few were rather upset that one of the most easy tests of the theory, giving the same questionnaire to other women, had not been performed.

We now have the further research that Ray Blanchard mentioned. The test of his theory that this was a misdirected male sexual urge that he never got around to doing.
Autogynephilia, an erotic interest in the thought or image of oneself as a woman, has been described as a sexual interest of some male-to-female transsexuals (MTFs); the term has not been applied to natal women. To test the possibility that natal women also experience autogynephilia, an Autogynephilia Scale for Women (ASW) was created from items used to categorize MTFs as autogynephilic in other studies. A questionnaire which included the ASW was distributed to a sample of 51 professional women employed at an urban hospital, 29 completed questionnaires were returned for analysis. By the common definition of ever having erotic arousal to the thought or image of oneself as a woman, 93% of the respondents would be classified as autogynephilic. Using a more rigorous definition of “frequent” arousal to multiple items, 28% would be classified as autogynephilic. The implications of these findings are discussed concerning the sexuality of women and the meaning of autogynephilia for MTFs.
Autogynephilia in Women. Moser, C. Journal of Homosexuality (in press).

Ah. Well, that's no surprise to transsexual women. My bet though is that the sample size will be regarded as too small, that autogynephilia in cisgendered women isn't proven to be the same as in transgendered women, etc etc. All valid criticisms, by the way. But the until now uncritically accepted assumptions inherent in AGP theory - well, uncritically accepted by much of the psychiatric establishment, even if the endocrinologists and neurologists think it's arrant nonsense - well, they're open to some question now.

The competing theories can be summarised as follows:

The neurological theory states that gender is between the ears, and gender identity usually crystallises as the result of pre-determined neurologically determined tendencies and biases in sexually dimorphic emotional response and (to a lesser degree) sexually dimorphic thought processes.

That such atypical neurological development is causal in various other observed phenomena, such as TS women tending to have increased creativity, natural talent in certain professional areas, notably computer and military science.

That the reason there appears to be 2 distinct types, one young and boy-crazy, and one older and having greater fluidity in sexual orientation, is because young girls of all kinds, transsexual or cissexual, also tend to be boy crazy compared to older women.

And the reason older TS women tend to like the idea of having a female body, not necessarily to attract a man, is because all women tend to like the idea of having a female body, not because of some misdirected male sexual urge.

Finally, that cross-gendered neurology can affect both sexes, and although the details differ, the underlying etiology is the same, just mirror-imaged.

In contrast.....

The AGP theory is agnostic about formation of Gender Identity. Men are Men, Women are Women, that's it. Don't ask why or how.

It dismisses the neurological evidence as mere coincidence, an artefact of low sample sizes. More than the sample sizes used in formulating AGP theory by now, but still not adequate for definite proof.

Transsexual women are not women at all. They are either young, homosexual boys who want to get other boys into bed, even if it means losing their manhood, or mentally deranged older men with misdirected sexual impulses causing them to want their bodies to be female. Such misdirected sexual impulses are associated with certain professions, for reasons unknown.

The observation that cissexual women appear to have exactly the same desire for their bodies to be female as transsexual women is an artefact of small sample sizes, or a completely different phenomenon that coincidentally looks exactly the same.

And as for transsexual men? They're not explained at all, and may not exist.

When looked at that way - we can legitimately ask the question "Why has ANYONE treated this hypothesis seriously???" I think the answer is that there has been an unspoken axiom: that transsexual women are actually men. And all facts and evidence has to be interpreted in that light, no matter what intellectual convolutions it entails.
A few studies on homosexual males (19)(20) raise the possibility that transsexualism might, at the neuroanatomic level, literally represent a type of intersexuality.
Such a conclusion would certainly change the complexion of the nosological debate. One might then ask who is more delusional – the transsexuals who claim they are “women trapped in men’s bodies” or the person who continues to insist they are not. At
present, however, the empirical data are lacking to decide this matter one way or the other.
-The case for and against publicly funded transsexual surgery(PDF)
Ray Blanchard, Ph.D Psychiatric Rounds 2000 V4 Issue 2
19. Allen LS, Gorski RA. Sexual orientation and the size of the anterior commissure
in the human brain. Proc Natl Acad Scien USA, 1992;89:7199-7202.
20. LeVay S. A difference in hypothalamic structure between heterosexual and
homosexual men. Science 1991;253:1034-1037.

Even then, the work of Gooren et al on Transsexual women - not Gay Men - had been known about for 5 years.

Zhou JN, Hofman MA, Gooren LJ, Swaab DF. A sex difference in the human brain and its relation to transsexuality. Nature (1995) 378:68–70.

But if it was imperative that Transsexual women be regarded as men, that couldn't be used. Since then there has been a veritable mountain of evidence gathered of course. Ignoring it is getting increasingly difficult. But I have a feeling that they'll manage it, as Ray Blanchard is on the committee revising the DSM - the diagnostic standard manual for psychiatrists - and so just as autogynephilia as a mental disorder has been discredited, it will probably be listed there, as a paraphilia that only men with gender identity disorder suffer.

38 comments:

Battybattybats said...

"Why has ANYONE treated this hypothesis seriously???"

Because not only does it fit the TG people are birth-sex + crazy mold but it helps protect the notion of clear seperate sex distinctions.

People do their best to ignore Intersex and imagine it so rare as to never need consideration, and thus try their hardest to pretend it does not at all exist.

Being able to describe TG people as crazy likewise helps dissmiss them and the ramifications to their precious mindset.

As for Blanchard and the DSM...

What systems are there to declare him a scientific and medical fraud? Because even if he has not committed any direct act of fraudulant practice such as deliberatly falsifying research by ignoring the clear contrary data from multiple studies and at least equally if not far more supportable theories to push his preferred notion in the DSM then that is exactly what he would be!

A clear scientific and medical fraud that will bring embarassment and shame upon the APA Internationally for decades if not a century.

Deliberately ignoring 'damned data' because it upsets a pet theory is a safe way to become a scientific laughingstock.

Any ignoring of this data will in the future have students in the subject shaking their heads in disbelief at the stupidity of the past.

Much as today they do over the claims that powered flight would be utterly impossible made after the Wright brothers flight had taken place or the claim that meteorites were merely terrestrial rocks exposed by lightning and that they fell from the sky a superstition. I think the quote was 'rocks cannot fall from the sky because there are no rocks IN the sky' or something to that effect, shame the telescope already existed at the time.

That is the page in history that Blanchard will occupy. The APA will be guffawed at for supporting such a notion when measurable and measured contrary data already existed.

Anonymous said...

Even though you are transsexual women, when you were children did you ever have it to where you had to wear a dress/skirt/gown or were threatened to be forced (like at the hospital when you were preparing to be X-rayed or if an authority threatens to make you wear a dress as punishment if you don't do something you're supposed to) and it was very scary, terrifyingly so, even though you at the same time generally identified with girls and wanted to be able to dress like one?

jessie-c said...

How is Blanchard taken seriously? Because he's written lots of articles explaining his theories. How did he develop his theories? He studies the transwomen his "clinic" was supposed to be treating. He offered them a choice that went something like this: "You! Cake or death?" Surprisingly, everybody chose cake. Therefore he concluded that transwomen all want cake. How did he come to that conclusion? Just look at all the transwomen who successfully went through his "course of treatment". Ignore all the ones who weren't feminine enough, or liked the wrong sexual partners, they're all pathalogical liars anyway. Ignore the well-known fact that transwomen coaches each other to tell him they all liked cake because this was the known way to succeed in getting the holy grail of surgery, the important thing is that all* the transwomen he treated backed up this theories. They told him that.



*well, all the ones that he approved for surgery. The other 90% didn't count.

sumptos devil s advocate said...

jessie-c,

No he didn't. He was an objective source in finally clamping down on all the made up stories being put out by his patients. Why question the professional record of a man when you don't have to? Do you have any documentation or any other shred of evidence for this, or are you relying on hearsay?

Just Jennifer said...

Ah, so close, and yet so terribly far off. Blanchard did something very simple. He created a theory that effectively dimisses the idea that transsexuals are anything more that disturbed men. In his paradigm we are either gay men who are just not accepting our gayness (or perhaps just so gay we flop over into being women) or straight men with a paraphilia.

Now, there is no question that there are some men who really are turned on by the idea of dressing as women (transvestic crossdressing) and in some cases this leads to a late life desire to change sex. They have no history of feeling themselves to be the wrong sex, particularly in childhood. Blanchard used these sad cases to build the idea that all are either one or the other. And then he linked the whole thing to age at transition, which ignores other factors.

His final ploy was to simply dismiss anyone who disagrees with his theory as a liar. Thus, he created a theory that cannot be refuted, which means it is not a valid theory at all.

Zoe Brain said...

Anonymous - I didn't want to wear female attire when young. I didn't want to be a girl. I just was one. I genuinely thought I'd have a normal puberty like other girls.

I was concerned that my parents and so on would have to make adjustments when they realised I'd been put in the wrong category, that there would be massive disruption and inconvenience, but figured it would all turn out right in the end.

I was always a bit of a Tomboy, I liked a lot of boy things. I just wasn't a boy, that was obvious. I didn't feel like them or think like them, I couldn't understand how they could be that way.

Even after 47 years of doing the "boy act", I still don't understand men.

It was only when my body started changing, and only after surgery, that I finally realised what all the magazines and articles about "being comfortable with your own body" were talking about. Things felt right, they matched.

This isn't about clothes. It's not even really about Gender Role, as I'm still a Tomboy, a Geek Girl, not very girlie at all. I don't want to be a conventional 1950's Doris Day.

But I want to be able to cry, and engage in girl talk, and look after babies, and generally not have to act contrary to my instincts. To "perform gender" to the extent that Gender Role is not a social construct, but influenced and based in instinct, emotional response and thinking patterns that are sexually differentiated, but also which vary between individuals. Neither women nor men have to conform to a stereotype - some do, some don't. I do, strongly, but other women aren't wired up that way. Why should they be? This is a matter of biology, and thus messy, with fuzziness and degrees and some parts in good accordance with a sexually differentiated stereotype and other parts not. Biology is like that.

That's only a minority of "gender role", the parts based on biology, most of the rest is mere social convention and varies between societies.

It is, however, a very important minority. It is even essential for me, as I'm strongly gendered in a way many people are not. That is, I think, the essence of Gender Dysphoria. The stress of having to act contrary to natural instinct, all the time. Being a man who has to act like a woman, or a woman who has to act like a man, because their bodies did not match their brains.

Some don't have the body dysmorphia, the feeling that the body is wrong too. But they usually do, to a greater or lesser degree.

Battybattybats said...

Just Jennifer, I have often found that when I have talked to the folk you describe as "men who really are turned on by the idea of dressing as women (transvestic crossdressing) and in some cases this leads to a late life desire to change sex. They have no history of feeling themselves to be the wrong sex, particularly in childhood." to be people in deep denial about their nature.

The equivalent of men who claim they are definately Straight while sneaking off to beats and male prostitutes and imagining being with a man in order to satisfy the wives they don't truly love.

And like those who come out as Gay late in life overcoming self-repression and getting out of a state of denial for some takes time.

And might I ad that the majority of crossdressers I've met and have spoken to online have had these non-sexual feellings well before puberty as a child.

It seems to me that the most logical, the occams razor solution is that like Autism and other neurological variations that there will be degrees of transsexual neurology. That the majority if not the totality of the people you speak of will simply have milder or partial Transsexual neurological variation.

If sexual feellings related to having a female anatomy is common amongst ciswomen and that this invalidates autogynephilia in TSs I think that proclaiming Transvestites, Crossdressers or whichever term is used mentally ill or 'sad cases' for sometimes being sexually aroused by wearing clothing that ciswomen I know, both straight and lesbian, certainly describe as being 'sexy' and making them 'feel sexy' when wearing seems rather similar.

Seems like the same illogic to me. The condemning as 'perverted' something otherwise common and acceptable in others. And then looking for explanations from the assumption of 'perversion'.

When instead I expect future studies will likely find they have 'mild' or 'partial' Transsexual-neurology.

autogynephiliac? said...

Zoe,

Thank you for your comment. That was me posting as anonymous. What is the difference between wanting to be a girl and knowing that you are?

I don't think I thought I would go through a puberty with the other girls I don't think I thought much about puberty at all. I saw on video in sex ed about it, but I never thought how it applied to me, I think. I first discovered about sex changes when I was 8, reading a medical encylopaedia, but I kept it to myself and swallowed it deep and would only ask about it when it was safe. Then time seemed to warp as I kept it in my head, but didn't do anything about it and went through a male puberty and I had lots of mental and social problems, but at the time I didn't think that it was the puberty. Now I wonder if it is.

I hate seeing my penis if I'm in the shower or the bath and I hate being hairy now.

For the dress thing, maybe I thought that people would just see me as a freaky boy dressing up as a girl and was preparing my mind for the hurls and insults that would come if I did?

Still, I always wanted to be frilly a bit and to dress up and skip around and wear nice-smelling perfume, even though I admit I was a tomboy too, but I knew that I had to shut that down as a kid forget about it. It seems the male way I act is second nature now, almost like I'm not suppressing anything, but I am very hyper-aware like you said and I always have to think to look carefully at others in conversations and listen to what they're saying because most of the time I'd prefer to be in my own little world or do my own little thing. I mean it's so easy to not really care about what other people are feeling or dealing with complicated things and just sort of being a void.

Leah said...

Hey Zoë,

After years of counter-attacking Blanchard, Bailey and Lawarence we may be making headway:

http://www.tsroadmap.com/notes/index.php/site/camh_internal_report_dismissive_condescending_and_authoritarian_attitudes_a/

Seems as though Blanchard and Zucker's (another toad) thrones may be in peril. Hopefully this signals the beginning of the end of those two. Be sure to check out the additional links. Blanchard and Zucker are not mentioned by name, but you know they are the ones named by the focus groups.

There may be a light at the end of the tunnel!

Leah

Bad hair days said...

@Auto
> What is the difference between wanting to be a girl and knowing that you are?

Selfperception. I was raised with the feminin basics that the only difference beside the body is upbringing. So I clearly saw I have male anatomie so I have to be a boy, which left me in the position wanting to be a girl, but not seing me as such.

The traiting of your own body in puperty, how well I know that.

I was arround fifteen when it finally settled with me that female persons have different instincts and what is known as gender is not just upbringing. Because I've seen I have theese instincts.

I had to much thought in it.

@SDA

No Blanchard did no real science on the subject. The CAMH did only let the ones access that fell in one of his two prefered models, then he made surveys on them and presented this cases as basis for his theory. And even this samples do not really show, what he claims.

@Lea
Not enaugh good news. Blanchard as part of the DSM V comitee is on his way to place AGP there:
http://gidreform.wordpress.com/2009/04/22/transvestic-disorder-and-policy-dysfunction-in-the-dsm-v/

Leah said...

@BadHairDays: Don't worry, I'm sure in the end we will win. Blanchard, Bailey, Lawrence and Zucker will be relegated to the dustbin of history. As Zoë herself notes, the pile of evidence in our favor keeps getting bigger and bigger, while they have nothing. The next ten years are going to be historic.

Leah (optimist extrordinaire)

Boo said...

Not to toot my own horn (cause, ya know, that sounds paraphilic), but I figured out the whole women-AGP thing about 5 years ago, and all I had to do was go get a copy of Women On Top and read through it rating the fantasies on Blanchard's scale. I've mentioned it several times when debating Blanchard partisans online over the years, and oddly enough none has ever had a response.

When looked at that way - we can legitimately ask the question "Why has ANYONE treated this hypothesis seriously???" I think the answer is that there has been an unspoken axiom: that transsexual women are actually men. And all facts and evidence has to be interpreted in that light, no matter what intellectual convolutions it entails.There's another important factor you're overlooking:

CAMH is a psychiatric prison whose main business is treating sex offenders. In order to justify having a gender clinic there, transsexualism HAS to be caused by a problematic sex drive. The unspoken assumption early on was that transsexualism was caused by disordered homosexuality. The only way they could acknowledge the existence of transwomen who aren't exclusively attracted to men was by creating a way for transsexualism to be caused by disordered heterosexuality. Basically, in order to justify their own existence, they had no other choice.

sumptos devil s advocate- he was conducting research on his own clients. That is a documented fact. His own clients were there to try and get approval from him for medical transition, which he was under no obligation whatsoever to give them. That is a documented fact. Therefore, they had an extremely strong incentive to tell him whatever they thought he wanted to hear. He didn't clamp down on made up stories, he catalyzed their creation. If Blanchard's clinic is the one place on earth where transwomen can be completely honest, why does it have the most notorious reputation for making it necessary to lie? (This last is even acknowledged in J. Michael Bailey's book, btw)

Just Jennifer said...

Sorry Battybattybats, I know some really, really want to deny that autogynephilia exists, but there are some who openly admit to having those feelings.

And whether or not such people are "mentally ill" has more to do with how it affects their lives than anything else. If it does not cause problems or discomfort, then it can be seen as just a curious little hobby.

But the sad cases I referred to are those who go too far, and who wind up having surgery and then having regrets. Some are quite vocal in their regrets. Others proclaim loudly that they are very happy, and then proceed to attack anyone who really is successful after surgery.

Sex reassignment surgery is not a benign choice that any "transgender person" can make without possible consequences. For some, it is the only choice, and quite frankly, for the rest it is the absolute wrong choice.

jessie-c said...

sumptos devil s advocate,

I have it directly from the source: women he turned down for surgery and women he approved. It's well known in the trans community across Canada that that was the way you got approved for surgery at the Cluck. He built a self-perpetuating lie and kept himself blind to its failings because that would bring his entire house of cards tumbling down around his ears. There is a great deal more evidence available over at TS Roadmap.

MgS said...

What has always seemed to be the flaw with autogynephilia as a hypothesis is that it fails to acknowledge that while transsexuals do not necessarily transition for sexual reasons, that does not mean that we are not sexual beings.

The great irony of it is that Blanchard actually had struck one of the most interesting aspects of the transsexual experience - that of how gender and sexual identity intersect.

Unfortunately, he made the classic error of using sexual identity to define gender identity - even in the face of all the evidence before him to the contrary.

Just Jennifer said...

I have to agree, the gender clinic at Clarke, especially under Blanchard, has been a house of horrors for years. I read a book by him some years ago which gave some details of the approach there. I remember things like derisive remarks about patients, ridiculous requirements, and them providing such ridiculously low dosages of hormones that there was no hope of them providing any benefit for the patient, even if they have been castrated. And then, they had the audacity to make the claim that hormones did really do anything for transsexuals. And if you wonder how low these dosages were...well, check out the levels in a birth control pill. That is what they were prescribing. Thank God I don't live in Canada, and thank God we don't have such an abusive system here.

Battybattybats said...

"Sorry Battybattybats, I know some really, really want to deny that autogynephilia exists, but there are some who openly admit to having those feelings."

Just Jennifer, the blogpost these comments are connected to points out that 'autogynephilia' exists in natal women. Making it a standard form of female sexual experience and rendering your point null and void.

Yes there is a sexual component to some TG peoples gender expression but my oh my, there's one to cis-folks gender expression too! In fact clothing and fashion have been known to be related to sex amongst cis-folk for what..... thousands of years isn't it?

News-flash: Some cis-women find wearing certain things makes them feel 'sexy'. This is old news Just Jennifer! Really old news.

"And whether or not such people are "mentally ill" has more to do with how it affects their lives than anything else."

Which is usually due to societies transphobia, fear of societies transphobia and internalised transphobia.

"If it does not cause problems or discomfort, then it can be seen as just a curious little hobby."

A 'hobby' usually doesn't end in suicide, marriage break-up, loss of family and friends etc or murder.

You don't find daily threads on fishing forums from people begging to know how to 'quit' liking fishing. Or on WW2 scale military modelling sites about how difficult it is trying to pretend to be a non-modeller in day to day life. Nor are people into crosstitch fearful that they will be fired if they ever crosstitch in a public space in case someone from work sees them. Or ever hear of cases where miniature wargamers are blackmailed by their wives into signing over the rights to all shared properties owned or she'll tell everyone that they are a miniature wargamer which they fear will ruin their bussiness.

I certainly have never heard of a severely disabled wheel-chair bound model railway enthusiest begging desperately for some sort of cure, any sort of cure for their hobby so that they wouldn't have to risk losing their carers by confessing that they have a desperate need to (non-sexually I might add) enjoy their hobby of model railways.

"But the sad cases I referred to are those who go too far, and who wind up having surgery and then having regrets. Some are quite vocal in their regrets. Others proclaim loudly that they are very happy, and then proceed to attack anyone who really is successful after surgery."

Has there been a proper study into those with regrets that identifies and examines the cause of those regrets or are you merely postulating one?

Simply recurrant or reemergent internalised transphobia would be one alternative explanation and I'd be interested in the data that rules it out.

"Sex reassignment surgery is not a benign choice that any "transgender person" can make without possible consequences. For some, it is the only choice, and quite frankly, for the rest it is the absolute wrong choice."

Again, you are making an assertion of the existence of only two catagories. here's your definitive evidence? Or could it be possible that some folk that can take or leave surgery could be a possible catagory, another could be a group that needs some surgery but not other surgeries and that group would likely have many subdivisions.

So then, as those other catagories can easilly be suggested where is the evidence that rules them out?

I certainly agree surgery isn't for everyone and also ALL surgery isn't for everyone as most of the FtM TSs I've spoken to have not had and do not intend to get currently available genital surgery.

jessie-c said...

Just jennifer,

The Cluck (or CAMH as it is now known) is an abberation, but just look at the gender clinics at most major US institutions during the past 40 years. Most of them were just as draconian, just as paternalistic and just as controlling as Blanchard and the Cluck ever were. The problem is that most of those clinics were shut down while the Cluck just kept on keeping on. It's now only the residents of Ontario and Manitoba who are constrained by their Provincial Medical Plans to go to the Cluck and that problem is being worked on.

Just Jennifer said...

Battybattybats, while I haven't read the article in question, the idea behind it is, quite frankly, absurd. How could a woman be sexually aroused by the idea of being "turned into a woman?" That is what autogynephilia is about. Quite frankly, it is an extension of the things that arouse a transvestite or crossdresser, just carried to a new extreme

Yes, women can be aroused by wearing a certain article of clothing. To compare that, beyond the most superficial terms, to crossdressing, is silly. A woman might be aroused by a specific item, where as someone with a fetish is usually aroused by a certain class of items.

And when a woman is aroused by wearing an item of clothing, it is not the item itself that leads to the arousal, but the thought of how that item will be perceived by others. Or, well, to be more specific, by what that perception will hopefully lead to.

Let me put this in very simple terms. There is a difference between a woman wearing something to be sexy, and a man wearing something (it does not even have to be female clothing) as a substitute for sex.

Now, part of the appeal of crossdressing is the sense of the forbidden. Shoot, "transphobia" is a motivation, not just a result.

Now, wouldn't you say that if a behavior leads to suicide, marrriage break-up, loss of family and friends, or murder, is causing problems or discomfort?

No, you don't find people seeking to quit those things. Maybe that is because people don't do those things for sexual reasons.

Now, keep in mind, there is no real connection between crossdressing and true transsexualism. Between it and autogynephilia, perhaps, but that is not really transsexualism.

And yes, there have been several studies, and they have found that those who did not have a lifelong issue with their sex are more likely to have regrets. That is, that those who can "take or leave surgery" should go with "leave."

Just Jennifer said...

Yes, some American gender clinics were pretty bad as well. At the same time, I think we may well have thrown the baby out with the bathwater. It is now far too easy to find a therapist who will give letters to anyone. I know, I saw one for a period. And that person actually did more harm than good.

In the end, I went through a program that requires a committee to review the case. The vote was unanimous in favor of my having surgery. But too many not only try to find someone who will give them the letters without really holding then to any standards, but also try to avoid even remotely facing the RLT. To me, that is just bizarre and quite foolish.

Battybattybats said...

Just Jennifer.
For someone who is NOT a crossdresser you seem to presume a lot about them. Things that DO NOT actually match my experiences nor experiences of the community!

In other words, you don't know what your on about.

Not even remotely.

By my experience the majority of self-identified crossdressers are bi-gender identity and non-sexual in their dressing.

But in traditional trolling ways you seem to insist on knowing more than the people you allege to discuss about their own experiences.

And seeing as I know cis-women who describe being turned-on by wearing certain forms of clothing then your dissmissing their experiences in favour of your theory too.

And as for "Now, wouldn't you say that if a behavior leads to suicide, marrriage break-up, loss of family and friends, or murder, is causing problems or discomfort?"

No Just Jennifer, as the suffering comes from Transphobia. Just like those exact same problems came from Homophobia. Recognising that fact lead to the de-listing of homosexuality in the DSM!

Aww and being gay is sexual too, so even if your FALSEHOOD that crossdressing was purely sexually motivated were true you still lose the point!

And on top of that you haven't even read the blogpost your commenting on? Troll much?

Boo said...

How could a woman be sexually aroused by the idea of being "turned into a woman?" That is what autogynephilia is about.One of the (many) mistakes you're making is assuming that "autogynephilia" is something that can be easily defined and identified. What the Moser study indicates isn't that women experience the same kind of arousal that fetishistic crossdressers experience, but that Blanchard doesn't know how to conduct valid, reliable studies on transsexualism. If you bother to go read Blanchard's original study, 7 of the 8 questions on the "Core Autogynephilia Scale" ask not if you've aroused by picturing yourself with various features of feminine anatomy, but if you've ever been aroused while picturing yourself with feminine anatomy.

In other words, it isn't clear from Blanchard's actual studies if "autogynephilia" as measured is arousal from the idea of being turned into a woman, as you say, or from the idea of being a woman, as Blanchard conceptualized, or enjoyment of having one's body responded to, or anything else. Even the guy who dreamed it up can't be consistent on what the actual definition is.

But too many not only try to find someone who will give them the letters without really holding then to any standards, but also try to avoid even remotely facing the RLT. To me, that is just bizarre and quite foolish.Adults wanting to have control over their own bodies?! The horror! Far better to submit to being controlled and infantalized by our betters.

Just Jennifer said...

I have know crossdressers through my former work in research. And if one reads some of the literature written by crossdressers the things I mention are obvious. Oh, I know the "party line" is to deny stuff, and talk about being "bi-gender" and "non-sexual" but that doesn't fool anyone.

And yes, as a "cis-gender woman" I can state that on occasion I have been turned on by the idea of wearing a certain item, mainly because I was excited about how a partner would react.

But let's be honest, we both know that is now what crossdressing is about.

As I said, if "transphobia" did not exist, neither would most crossdressing. It is the thrill of the forbidden that draws many, if not most.

And yes, I read the post.

Just Jennifer said...

Actually, autogynephilia is easily defined. What is bogus in Blanchard's theories is the claim that all transsexuals are either "homosexual" or "autogynephile." Now, I will agree, Blanchard was not interested in facts. He has an agenda, and that is to discredit all transsexuals, period. But, there are a number of men who develop, later in life, the idea that being a woman would be "fun," "exciting," or even "arousing." They have no history of conflicts over their sex, and will often admit that their desire for surgery is sexually motivated.

Blanchard's work is largely worthless, but he did provide a nice term for an easily observable behavior.

And as I said, SRS is not simply some benign form of cosmetic surgery that carries no consequences. It is far better for doctors to make sure they are doing no harm, regardless of how much some people cannot see that idea.

It is curious, but most of those who show the strongest indication of actually needing surgery (early awareness of being different, easily assimilate as females, etc.) are usually the most willing to follow the rules. It is usually the ones who, for want of a better description, come across as men in dresses, who want to cut corners.

Bad hair days said...

> are usually the most willing to follow the rules

Funny thing, that I didn't follow the (german) rules because I did not want to be a man in dress. (One year real life test before HRT). That and another rule then in place (no treatment before 25) cost me plenty of time of my life.

Now go and lick some of the asses of those valuable gatekeepers.

Boo said...

Actually, autogynephilia is easily defined.I'm sure you could come up with an easy definition for it, but then it wouldn't be autogynephilia, it would be your own definition. Blanchard coined it, but doesn't seem able to define it.

But, there are a number of men who develop, later in life, the idea that being a woman would be "fun," "exciting," or even "arousing." They have no history of conflicts over their sex, and will often admit that their desire for surgery is sexually motivated.And the ones who go far enough to get on hormones soon find out it isn't the kick they thought it would be, and stop. Who cares?

It is curious, but most of those who show the strongest indication of actually needing surgery (early awareness of being different, easily assimilate as females, etc.) are usually the most willing to follow the rules. It is usually the ones who, for want of a better description, come across as men in dresses, who want to cut corners.So... you don't actually know any of us younger TSs, huh? Pop on over the Genderpeace or Trueselves and drop the idea of getting surgical approval by a committee. See what kind of responses you get.

Battybattybats said...

"Oh, I know the "party line" is to deny stuff, and talk about being "bi-gender" and "non-sexual" but that doesn't fool anyone."

Clearly you have NO IDEA then.

Because the 'party line' is in fact to keep saying crossdressers are really really different from TSs. And to say they are all 'still men' and that the desire is 'just sexual' so as to maintain self-delusion and/or placate the cis-gender transphobic fears of the wives of CDs that their husbands will be gay bi or TS.

See thats why older organisations like Tri-Ess kick out or marginalise gay, bisexual and transitioning people. All to keep mainatining the falsehoods of how all CDs are straight and won't ever transition blah blah blah because of fears of wives reactions.

Your the one buying the 'party line'. The propaganda of the homophobic and very much transphobic CDs of the past.

Your also ignoring the many cultures where crossdressing has not been taboo and yet where it still occurs/ed.

Your right now in the embarassingly ridiculous position of telling the bi-gender crossdresser (namely me because thats the way I currently identify) why they are the way they are, who and what they are, even in direct opposition to my own experiences.

Because they don't match your pet theory your implying i'm a liar.

And right now, having painfully snapped a nail just a couple days ago and being busy working on an artwork about transphobia and violent oppression of diversity for a local art competition I'm really not in the mood for being subtle.

No Just Jennifer, crossdressing is NOT all about sex. Even for those for whom it is a self-described factor thats usually only early on, like i mentioned, when in deep denial and extremely repressed. Once they gain more self-acceptance and more freedom to express their femininity what you keep imagining to be the primary motivation ceases to have any direct connection.

But of course that doesn't fit your desperate need to deride CDs and and to deride some TG folk by comparing them to your srawman-CDs.

It's one of those classical 'othering' behaviours where one person tries to tell the other what the others own experiences were, motivations are and all the rest.

When I cried myself to sleep as a pre-pubescant child it was not about kinky turn-ons.

If my experiences and those of many CDs I know on and offline don't match your precious notion then its your pet theory thats in error.

Just like Blanchards.

autogynephiliac? said...

Battybattybats,

"When I cried myself to sleep as a pre-pubescant child it was not about kinky turn-ons."

If you don't mind me asking, what did you cry about?

Battybattybats said...

"If you don't mind me asking, what did you cry about?"

Some days i just felt i was a girl, should be a girl, other times i was able to crush such notions down so that they slipped from conscious awareness and other days i was fine with being a boy.

It seemed to cycle, sometimes strong and othertimes seemingly gone. All of which occurred before puberty.

I managed to block it out of my mind and forget about it sometimes for many months only for it to all come back suddenly in a painful flood of emotion before I could trick myself into believing i had never felt that way.

It grew stronger over time as it seems many repressions do until i could no longer ignore and deny it.

Trouble is such ideas don't match peoples pet theories.

I have to be some sort of ultimate sex-fiend... obsessing on myself as the ultimate sex object for my own self gratification even at the age of three or four when attending ballet classes.

And/or be some sort of sexist uber-patriarch, swilling beer, watching sports and treating women as dirt yet wearing a dress.

Or be obsessed with a sexist 50's stepford wives hyper-femininity despite still enjoying sword-based martial arts (only left with tai-chi these days though as my disability prevents fast-paced fencing anymore).

Or be some kind of deceiving predator out to trick my way into peeping at women or girls in bathrooms or trick men into gay sex.

Or be a liar as its not meant to be possible for me to exist outside of these stereotypes.

But I do.

Lloyd Flack said...

An article I read sometime ago pointed out that when a scientist descends into true crackpotery it is usually not by coming out with some novel and crazy idea by by untertaking a stubborn last ditch defence of an old idea which everyone else is abandoning because evidence is accumulating against it. Blanchard and Bailey's concept of autogynephillia fits this description perfectly. It is an attempt to continue to frame mental health issues in terms of purely psychoanalytic concepts As we get to know more about brain structure we can point to more and more of these problems as being due to identifable brain abnomalities. The current most likely explanations of transsexuality are examples of this.

Also of course ego gets involved in this. I have seen Bailey described as someone who sees himself as a taboo breaker. Cold he be playing that role and have th scandal and outrage caused as something that attracts him to this idea?

Bad hair days said...

Bailey has a history of provoking. The pro eugnic manifest when it comes to homosexuality or the "Gay, straight or lying" thing on bisexuals.

Anonymous said...

Do we take this seriously?

Of course we take this seriously! Why? Because of two things. First, it fits our own observations of a lifetime... in my case, 34 years since transition at age 17, many of those years fighting in the trenches for trans-rights, for both types. Second, because the science backs it up. The data is solid. There are two types of transfolk... one that is the extreme of feminine homosexuality continuum... and one that is the extreme of heterosexual to bisexual cross-dressing (autogynophilic) continuum.

It is indeed hard to define autogynophilia... but like porn, we know it when we see it. Like the guy I saw wearing a dress in the town square one day... I could tell he was getting off... but I couldn't tell you how I knew it.

But, how about the older transwoman who admits that she got an erection the first time she was out in public and a shop clerk called her "Ma'am"? If that's not autogynophilia, I don't know what to call it!

Autogynophilia in women? I read the Moser paper. I can imagine women answering yes... as I can imagine answering yes myself... as in, getting ready to go out on a hot date with a cute guy will turn me on too! But then, so too would a straight man find getting ready to go out on a hot date with a sexy woman, as research has shown that his testosterone levels increase in anticipation.

So, yes, Virgina, Some of us *do* take this stuff seriously... why? Because we have seen that it is true in our daily interactions with both types, which are *very* easily discernable, at least to those of us who are "homosexual transsexuals" (I too wish we had a better word for either type.) Or to my husband the first time I introduced him to other tranwomen.

But, here's the thing. I don't think that being autogynophilic is "bad". In fact, I think it is good. Just don't trash us, "early transitioning", "sex crazed", "boy crazy" tranny girls when we don't have the same ideas of what it *means* to be a tranny.

(Oh... BTW, I have sex with my husband two or three times a week, more than I did with my boyfriends when I was 19 and pre-op.)

So, can we just admit we are all who we are... and that Bailey, for all his unflattering portrayals, was basically telling the truth? That Blanchard was only continuing research from his mentor, Kurt Freund, who was only continuing reasearch from yet others... and that the Dutch researcher have recently also shown that they were right? Can we just stop being in denial? And learn to accept that being different is "OK"?

Hugs to all...

Cloudy

Bad hair days said...

> Can we just stop being in denial? And learn to accept that being different is "OK"?

Even Blanchards data was not clear enough to show real evidence for that. When I look around I see all combinations of sexual orientation, inherent feminity, age at transition, and source of income.

I think you am the one in denial, and should start to celebrate difference - in opposition to binary thinking.

PS: I never say Autogynephilia to the extend of body modification doesn't exist. We have Anne Lawrence for a start, and I came to personally know one "chaser" who later on started to modificate hir body.

Zoe Brain said...

It is an essential part of AGP theory that there be no exceptions to the two classes. That two classes exist is not in serious question. That they are the only two classes, and that there is a hard divide between them, contradicts the facts.

Example - me. I'm attracted to guys (now), I first dressed in female attire only 3 weeks before going fulltime. But did so at age 47, and am a Computer Scientist with a military background.

According to AGP theory, I cannot exist.

Hontas Farmer said...

Hey there Zoe_B

Here is what I had to say about Dr "Autogynephilia in women".

http://www.scientificblogging.com/quantum_gravity/blog/according_moser_autogynephilia_women_what_could_mean

Boo said...

So, can we just admit we are all who we are... and that Bailey, for all his unflattering portrayals, was basically telling the truth?Of course we can. As soon as we admit that all black men want to rape white women, all jews are greedy swindlers, and asians can't drive.

Seriously, Cloudy, you really need to get out more. There are teenaged transdykes out there whether you want them to exist or not. Of course we can all identify "those people." But, see, if you wanna pretend this is science, you're going to need something just a tad more rigorous.

Boo said...

Hontas Farmer-

You're trying, I guess. And you came so close. So very very close. It was staring at you in the face.

There are some holes in this study. Moser points out small sample size, and discusses most of the others in an intellectually honest and forthright manner. Though I think he missed this one. There is an assumption that administering the same sexual arousal related question to males and females and getting the same answers means the same things.But you just couldn't take that one, itsy bitsy lil next logical step, could you? Ok... I'll take it for you. Here tis, ya ready?

The exact same problem plagued Blanchard's original study.

If we don't know how the cisgendered women in the new study were interpreting the questions... how do we know how the transwomen were interpreting them?

See, the real question isn't whether "aytogynephilia" exists in cisgendered women. The real question is whether it was ever defined rigorously enough to be useful in any meaningful way. As I pointed out to you previously over on feministing, the questions were simply too poorly worded to draw any meaningful conclusions about anything. (And that's not even bringing in the other two serious flaws- the selection criteria were too broad and the subjects were Blanchard's own clients who had an extremely strong incentive to tell him whatever he wanted to hear to get his permission for medical treatment).

Oh, and here's another funny lil thing:

The transactivist have had a tendency to insult those transwomen who came out as autogynephilic such as Lawrence and Arune.If you look farther up the thread, you may notice someone going by "autogynephiliac?" who's posted here and a couple other threads. Funny thing, no one has insulted or otherwise criticized her for claiming autogynephilia. My guess would be it's because she has yet to demonstrate a creepy obsession with blanketing everyone else with autogynephilia, act like an obnoxious passive-aggressive narsicist, or be the object of multiple similar accusations from unconnected poeple regarding extremely inappropriate sexual behavior towards unwilling victims. But that's just one theory.

Zoe Brain said...

Hi Hontas, long time no hear from.

I've just finished reading through this brouhaha.

Gosh.

I've yet to coalesce my thoughts on the subject but... and my wording is poor here and will no doubt change to something not full of inaccuracy....

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity are weakly correlated. That doesn't mean no correlation, far from it. They absolutely are. But I think it's a case of different areas in the brain conforming more, or less, to a masculine stereotype or a feminine stereotype, and that a common cause will affect multiple areas much of the time, but not universally.

I'd refer you to Ronnie Drantz on this one.

In terms of sexual arousal seeing oneself as a man, or a woman, I gave up trying to see myself as anything other than a woman in my dreams around age 25. By then, my success rate was at best 1 in 10, even though I had some control over my consciously recalled dreams. I can't say I was particularly aroused as either though. Just more comfortable.

I never did manage to accomplish the "mental gymnastics" many other women with masculinised genitalia did. I was anorgasmic, though capable of physical arousal.

The new improved configuration cured that, there was no longer the impression that sensations were coming from areas my brain insisted didn't exist. How would you like it if someone shook your hand - the one growing out of the middle of your back? True cognitive dissonance, the sensations real, but the wrongness too distracting.

Then there's the whole thing about my sexual orientation shifting from asexual and psychologically lesbian to sexual and straight. Some of which can be explained by psychology, but some of which can best be explained by hormonally induced changes to the brain, especially the sense of smell.

But it's nearly midnight, I have to get to bed as I'm driving my son to school tomorrow. More later.